The Accelerated Middle School (AMS) at Basha High School put together a power team of three bright students at the beginning of the school year and entered the regional Future City Competition at the Phoenix Convention Center in January.
Jon Gonsalves, Ryan Tran and Truman Idso, all eighth-graders, competed against close to 100 other teams and took first place. More than 40,000 students from 1,350 middle schools are participating nationwide in 30 different regional competitions.
The Future City Competition program introduces sixth- to eighth-graders to engineering concepts through practical STEM applications. Student teams are judged on how they design and build their vision of the urban world of tomorrow with the theme of this year’s competition focused on transportation in a futuristic model.
In addition to the overall competition, society sponsored awards are handed out that identify excellence in a specific engineering or technical aspect of city creation and/or operation. Each sponsor judges all competitors and chooses the finalists for its award.
Arizona State University bestowed AMS with the Sustainable Commerce Award and Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), Phoenix Chapter awarded the team the Excellence in Use of Building Materials Award. CSI was impressed enough to ask AMS to speak to their company about the team’s concepts and design next month.
“The competition was strong and I was pretty worried,” Gonsalves said. “Winning this award means a lot to us because it brings recognition to AMS and shows how strong Basha’s STEM classes are.”
The winning team from each qualifying regional competition receives a trip to the Future City National Finals in Washington later this month. The three boys, their engineering mentor Mark Gonsalves and AMS teacher Amanda Cook will head to the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill Feb. 15-18 to face the winners of 29 other regions from across the country. The national grand prize is $7,500 for the winning team’s school STEM program, plus a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., sponsored by Bentley Systems, Inc.